S&P/ASX 200 crashes as BHP Billiton Limited shares slide further

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has been crushed today. The index has fallen 98 points or 1.9% following the lead set by international equity markets overnight.

In the United States, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices plummeted 1.5% and 1.8% respectively, largely due to expectations of an interest rate hike when the US Federal Reserve meets this month. Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 fell 2.3% and Germany’s DAX index plunged 3.6% after the European Central Bank cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory.

Locally, the losses have certainly been widespread, especially amongst the blue-chip shares.

Each of the Big Four banks, for instance, are trading in the red with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) all trading between 1.4% and 1.9% lower.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) is also down 1.9% while CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) and Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) have fallen 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.

Unfortunately, the miners have also fallen hard after the iron ore price continued its violent descent overnight. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) fell 2% and 0.8%, while BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) shares fell another 1.2%, hitting just $17.97. It’s the lowest the miner’s share price has been in more than a decade.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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